You get what you pay for – Holiday letting agents’ fees explained

When it comes to parting with money, you generally get what you pay for. And holiday letting agents are no exception. When shopping around for an agency to look after your Cornish holiday home do your homework carefully. While it may be tempting to go for the company charging least commission. money is far from the only consideration. In this article, we explain what to look for in holiday letting agent fees and why you really do get what you pay for.

Holiday letting agents’ reputations

Word of mouth has always been important and in today’s online world what other people say is more important than ever before. When doing your initial research for a holiday lettings agent ask around other holiday let owners, friends and acquaintances, and online forums.

Take note of recommendations that:

  • come up consistently – there are plenty of holiday lettings agents but are they all brilliant?
  • can provide feedback and testimonials from satisfied customers
  • have customer satisfaction awards from bona fide sources

Top tip – when someone recommends an agency ask what’s good and not to good about them, what matters to one holiday home owner will be less/more important to another.

core values

Trust and confidence

Whether you’re going for full management or marketing and bookings only  hiring a holiday lettings agency is a big step. Not only are you parting with (hard-earned) money you’re also putting your property, physically and/or virtually, into their hands.

Peace of mind is fundamental and well worth paying for. When vetting an agency find out the following:

  • How long have they been around? The longer the better.
  • Are they associated with or accredited by any official organisations?

Top tip – look the agency up on Google and scan the first two or three pages of the search. No one can hide a bad reputation from the online giant.


You’ll want your chosen holiday lettings agency to be up-to-date with everything in the holiday lettings world. This ranges from latest marketing trends to recent tax legislation for holiday let owners. Choose an agency that:

  • provides owners with regular updates on holiday lettings regulations and legislation. Garner whether these updates are proactive through newsletters or bespoke emails rather than the onus being on you to ask for information.
  • keeps up with the latest in online marketing. Ask the agency about their social media campaigns, their SEO policy, etc.

Top tip – put yourself in a holidaymaker’s shoes and imagine you’re booking a holiday let in Cornwall via the agency’s website. How easy is it to find what you’re looking for? Does the website inspire trust and confidence?

Insider knowledge

Whether you’re looking to merely cover the costs of your Cornish holiday home or want to turn your purchase into a profitable investment, your principal aim is to make money from your holiday lettings. You can only do this through bookings. And since bookings come from reservations made with your holiday lettings agency it makes sense to go for one agency with insider knowledge.

Go niche – choose an agency with a niche interest either in your location (i.e. Cornwall) or your potential guests (e.g. large groups). The agency therefore narrows down the target market to ensure your property receives maximum exposure to the right audience.

Right advice – choosing an agency with lots of experience in the field also means your potential guests will get the right vibes too.

Top tip – as a holiday let owner it’s helpful if the lettings agency can give you advice too.

Clear communication

Anyone working with people needs to have clear communication. And when it comes to managing holiday lets the ability to listen and communicate is worth its weight in gold. All too often bookings are lost through misunderstandings or online reputations are spoiled through poor communication.

Holiday lettings agents need to be able to communicate firstly with potential guests and secondly, with you, their client. When vetting an agency, listen to their initial communications with you carefully. Are you getting the right message? Do they listen to you and your needs? Do they follow up your queries? How valued do you feel as their client?

Top tip – always remember that the holiday lettings agency is in charge of your bookings and therefore your income.

Compare like with like

As always when doing a comparison make sure you’re comparing like with like when it comes to holiday lettings agents’ fees. Take a good look at quotes for services and make sure you understand exactly what’s included (and excluded). A commission may well be cheaper because it doesn’t include a potentially useful service. The same applies to extras – if an agency charges higher commission because they offer more services ask yourself if you need all of them.

Top tip – the best agents offer bespoke fees tailored to meet your requirements and expectations.

Crystal-clear costs

If you’ve chosen to use a property management company you’re trusting its employees with your property (the actual key in the case of full management) and your money. The agent must therefore be crystal-clear in everything financial. This starts from being upfront about commission costs to providing full financial reports for your property.

Top tip – make sure you have a full commitment from the holiday lettings agent as to costs and commissions from day one.

On-hand to help

And lastly, you want an agency that’s approachable. One you feel you can call on for advice or information. Larger holiday letting agencies run call centres and/or online chats as their main way of dealing with client enquiries. These are of course cheaper to run and mean lower commission for you, but they’re also impersonal and sometimes difficult to get through to.

Top tip – choose a company that provides you with a designated point of contact. That way you’ll always deal with the same person, saving you time, stress and ultimately money.

At Cornish Traditional Cottages, we pride ourselves on customer service, insider knowledge and approachability. After over 50 years successfully letting holiday homes in Cornwall we also think we know what we’re talking about. But don’t take our word for it – take it from others. And remember, we’ll always here to listen. All you have to do is get in touch.